It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (78/107), enjoy~
Now, there is a shipyard a short distance away by water train after leaving the royal capital. It’s a shipyard with a long history, but it has never built ordinary battleships or fishing boats.
There are two ships that have been built recently. One is the Princess Olivia. The other is the Princess Katima.
In other words, this is a shipyard that builds ships for the royal family.
Not many engineers are allowed to enter the shipyard. The interior is a mass of confidentiality and is controlled by a strict security system. It was as large as the Tower of Wisdom.
The facility itself was also large.
But once inside, Ain was overwhelmed by the huge magic tools that he had never seen before.
There was a huge turbine like the one found in the basement of the Tower of Wisdom, as well as a huge cutter that could cut through an ordinary house. No matter where he looked, there were only huge things.
“The place is as big as ever.”
Majolica, who was walking next to him, said.
Today, Majolica, who is wearing suspenders that cover her chest with a magic stone, has come here to perform work for the store, bringing in magic stones.
It was convenient, then, for Ain to visit as an inspection.
Of course, Dill was behind him as an escort.
“So, where is the product that Your Highness wants?”
“It’s a bit of a disturbing thing to say, isn’t it?”
“Is that so? But think of the weapons that will be installed.”
“…It sounds dangerous.”
“Right? It’s a battleship that will be equipped with the most advanced technology and weapons, and most of the materials are Sea Dragon. No matter how you hear it, it’s still very disturbing.”
“T-the two of you… It’s just that it’s the ship on which the prestigious royal family of Ishtalika boards.”
Dill smiled bitterly and asked them to choose their words a little carefully.
“I’m afraid I’m being too frank.”
Majolica chuckled and looked at Ain and reflected on the situation.
“I think it’s time to stop talking so much and start looking.”
“About the product I want, right?”
“My bad, I’ve been guilty of making Your Highness listen to strange words. Hmm… is that it?”
The three of them stopped when they passed through a section lined with huge magic tools.
Ain gasped at the massive object that sat in front of his gaze. His eyes widened for a moment at the overwhelming sense of existence, as if he were seeing a Sea Dragon for the first time.
“That’s the ── Sea Dragon Ship Leviathan.”
His heart trembled intensely as he stood in front of the battleship that he would eventually be commanding.
The entire huge body was covered with the scales of the Sea Dragon, which had been used sparingly, giving it a fantastic pale white glow. The streamlined hull looked like a bullet or a spear.
The only thing that makes him a little disappointed is that it is still unfinished.
But even though it was almost finished, it was already bigger than Princess Olivia.
“It’s amazing. The weapons lined up on the edge are spectacular.”
Then Dill, who had been quiet up to this point, spoke up.
“If you think all of that can fit into the Leviathan, it’s not a dream to surpass His Majesty’s, White King.”
“Oh, it’s not just a dream.”
“You mean, they’ve already done it?”
“Yes. The White King was built several generations ago. Even so, it was built with the best technology available at the time and had a huge budget, so it’s still a force to be reckoned with. But the Leviathan is a class apart.”
“You’re not talking about whether it’s already surpassed or not?”
“That’s what I mean. It’s just a matter of how much power the battleship can provide on its own.”
“…I’ve heard rumors, but is it really that much?”
“Of course. Normally, the durability of the material makes it impossible to load weapons and furnaces, but thanks to the material of the Sea Dragon, we can load as much as we want.”
That sounds great, said Ain, laughing as he listened.
The material of the Sea Dragon had easily overcome the durability problems that had been impossible until now. That’s why they were able to do what they couldn’t do before.
It would surely be a ship worthy of bearing the name of the Sea Dragon.
As Ain looked at the ship’s hull, he noticed a group of people he knew well.
“What is it?”
“Look, do you recognize those two over there?”
Dill narrowed his eyes and looked in the direction that Ain had pointed. He saw people he knew well.
“Professor Luke, right? I think the one next to him is Roland-dono… who is Ain-sama’s friend.”
Luke was dressed in white, just as he had been at the academy. Then there was Roland, who looked like he was dressed in a slightly larger white coat. The werewolf’s distinctive dog ears and tail, combined with his outfit, made him look cute.
“Why are the two of them here?”
“Of course, it’s because they’re working here.”
That’s the obvious conclusion, but that’s not the point.
“Majolica-dono, Ain-sama is wondering why Roland-dono is here, you know?”
“Oh, you mean that. He’s a brilliant kid. Luke, the professor next to him, is a famous researcher on the continent, and the boy is already famous in the industry.”
From the time he entered the school, Roland was a boy who stood out. When he thought back, he had even helped Ain on the field trip.
“It would have been nice if he could have told me what he did for a living.”
“I’m sure he’s just trying to maintain confidentiality. He’s a good boy.”
He could have at least told Ain, the person involved in the project. But it is still Roland’s way of keeping secrets and being active on these occasions.
Then Ain mouthed, “Good luck,” and turned on his heel.
“Ara, are you done with the ship?”
“I’m waiting for it to be finished. Even so, it’s still amazing.”
The finished product should be even more impressive.
The thought of his friend building him a ship made the corners of his mouth turn up. To hide the look on his face, Ain left the shipyard at a brisk pace.
──He parted ways with Dill when he got outside.
Dill said that he had forgotten something in the shipyard.
“The shipbuilding seems to be going well, by the way. I wonder if they had any leftover materials they were planning to use.”
“Hmm, you were going to use it?”
Then Majolica averted his gaze.
“What does that mean?”
“It’s just a figure of speech, you know.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, of course! You don’t have to be so doubtful──.”
“Can I go ask the people in the shipyard about what you just said? Maybe some of them might know.”
“…You’re so relentless.”
The resigned Majolica let out a sigh.
Then he looked around. When he was sure that Dill had not yet returned, he brought his face close to Ain’s and lowered the volume of his voice.
“I was actually planning to build another ship.”
“Hmm? Every royal family already has their own battleship, isn’t there?”
“There was only one royal family member that didn’t have one. Although he’s no longer in this world.”
Ain had never heard of it.
“Oh, you mean there’s a royalty I don’t know about…?”
“I wonder if that’s true. It’s not just that it was deliberately hidden from the public, but that a lot of it happened a while before Your Highness was born. Nowadays, it is taboo to talk about it even among commoners, and I don’t think the kids these days know anything about it.”
“…I’m sorry, but I’m honestly confused.”
And yet, he remained calm.
If he had not been told about this, it is easy to imagine that it was something that at least they did not want to tell Ain about.
He was worried that Majolica would be punished as a result of pursuing the matter here.
“You seem to be curious about the rest.”
“But I’m not sure if I should ask.”
“I’m the one who slipped up halfway, so if you don’t mind keeping it to yourself, why not?”
“Eeh… is that how it works?”
“Your Highness is a man who keeps his word. Just don’t tell anyone, okay?”
Majolica looked up at the sky, wondering where to begin.
“The name of the missing royalty is Rufei von Ishtalika, the first prince.”
When Ain heard those words, he was surprised.
No one had seemed to care until now, but it was the children of the current king, Sylvird. The first princess, Katima, is the second child, he was told when he met her. And Olivia was her younger sister, which meant that there must be another one on top of the two.
“He was a genius intellect, you know.”
“…but is he dead?”
“No, not exactly. He disappeared from this world with Chris’s sister.”
Ain’s eyes widened at the unexpected words.
“We’ve talked about her before, haven’t we?”
“Yes, we have, but I seem to recall that the details were kept from me.”
“It had to be done, you know. So, her name is Celestina Wernstein. She was as strong as I said before, even stronger than the marshal himself.”
“I know that much because I’ve heard it all before, but…”
“Are you curious about her relationship with Rufei-sama?”
Ain nodded without saying it out loud.
“That girl… Celes was Rufei-sama’s personal bodyguard. But she did something she shouldn’t have done.”
At this point, Majolica lowered her eyes sadly.
A cold winter wind blew through as if to express his feelings.
“In the middle of Ishtar continent, there is a place called ‘The Hidden Dungeon’. It’s a mysterious ruin full of anecdotes about how if you go in, you’ll never come out again, or how you’ll be taken to a place under the Gods…”
Ain already guessed it. That’s probably what Celes did.
“Could it be that she took Rufei-sama away?”
“Not exactly. To be precise, Rufei-sama wanted to go to the hidden dungeon, and Celes agreed and took him there.”
Either way, it’s something she shouldn’t have done. If you are in the position of a full-time guard, you have a duty to correct the mistakes that your lord has made.
Ain was also forcing Dill to be very reckless, and it was painful to hear.
“Both of them were geniuses, so normal life was boring for them. Rufei-sama was the kind of person who could memorize a book in one reading, and Celes was also unusually talented.”
“So Rufei-sama left the royal capital out of pure, intense curiosity?”
“Probably. It seems that a letter like that was left behind.”
That’s why they are not in this world, Majolica said earlier.
“It’s like a mortal sin.”
It was a very unpleasant story, but Ain could not say it strongly. He knew that he had broken through his own restraint when the Sea Dragon had appeared.
“His Majesty told me the same thing back then.”
“Yes. He was sad and wondered if he had taught him wrong. But he was just as angry with the prince for doing what he shouldn’t have done.”
Considering Sylvird’s personality, that was probably why he stopped talking about them.
“Maybe they both had the loneliness of being geniuses.”
“It’s not right. But Rufei-sama always said that he was born in the wrong place, so maybe he and Celes had something to think about. Although we can’t confirm it now.”
For Ain, who loved Ishtalika, this was not a good story.
He then rubbed his temples in displeasure.
He could not help but feel angry at the first prince for causing grief to his beloved family.
“Don’t tell anyone what I said. Not for my sake, but for His Majesty’s.”
“I know. Grandfather will be very sad.”
“No, it’s not. It’s because I don’t want His Majesty to have to worry about anything else. He’s afraid. He’s afraid that His Highness will do the same thing.”
“…..I suppose it’s my fault for making him worry.”
“Your Highness is an active person. He must be worried that you might be interested.”
But Ain was sure of it. Even if he was interested, he was sure that he would not go to the hidden dungeon.
“I’ll be fine. Because I love Ishtalika.”
He couldn’t bear the thought of leaving his family or his country.
“But there’s one thing that’s bothering me.”
“Yes, yes? What is it?”
When the heavy atmosphere had subsided, Ain asked.
“Majolica-san, don’t you know too much about everything?”
“Of course… because I was in a party with the people mentioned.”
“Eh, um… eh?”
“Me and Kaizer, then Celes and Rufei-sama ─── and lastly the marshal.”
Ain couldn’t help but widen his eyes.
A new cold wind is blowing, inviting melancholy.
“You gave away that information so easily.”
He smiled, exposing his white teeth at the end.
When he thought about it, he hadn’t really had any free time since he came to this country.
He looked up at the endless blue sky, expecting that this would be the case in the future.
◇ ◇ ◇
A few hours have passed since the events at the shipyard.
It’s already dark due to the early winter sunset.
In Ain’s office, the fireplace is lit, and the air from the flickering red and orange flames warms the room.
He was working at his desk when Krone walked over to him.
“I don’t really have anything to do. Is it bad for me to come?”
“No, you’re always welcome.”
Ain tried to get up from his chair, but Krone stopped him with her hand. She walked up to him with light steps and stood behind his chair.
“I see you’re at work.”
“I wonder. I was just looking at Magna’s files.”
After hearing his reply, Krone peered at Ain’s hand from behind. But she was unhappy with her position, and her feet were restless.
“Maybe it’s because I’m getting bigger that it’s hard to see?”
“Yes, a little ── oh, but if I do this…”
Then Krone put her face close to Ain’s right shoulder and put her face on it, and peeked at him.
“…Is it not good?”
She doesn’t expect to be rejected in the slightest. But she was nervous until Ain answered him.
“Unless you prefer me to be nervous.”
Hearing him reply jokingly, Krone narrowed her eyes happily.
“I’m with you. We’re the same.”
“I see, that’s not so bad.”
Not only can he hear her breath in his ear, but he can also hear the way she moves around.
He can hear her clothes rubbing together as she moves around. He can even hear the sound of her heartbeat.
The sweet scent of flowers stimulates his sense of smell. But even more than that, the comfort of being near her was overwhelming.
“Oh, here it is.”
Suddenly, Krone pointed to a document. It depicted a magnificent mansion that looked like the residence of a nobleman.
“As far as I can see, it looks like it’s built on a cliff… Where is this?”
“This is where we’re going to stay.”
This was completely new to him.
“It looks like someone’s mansion.”
“It’s okay. It’s a royal residence. It’s the oldest mansion in existence; have you ever seen it?”
“No, not at all. I guess I didn’t learn enough.”
“Hmm, I’ll show you.”
The first thing Krone said was that it was the oldest mansion in existence. It seems that the mansion has more historical value than just being old.
“This is a mansion built by the first king.”
“It’s true. It seems he left it for the future royalty.”
“…I felt even more embarrassed that I didn’t know that.”
Krone smiled at Ain, who laughed bitterly.
“The mansion has a secret.”
“Yes, a secret.”
She paused to take a deep breath.
She brought her index finger to her lips and whispered, “Shhh.”
“I heard there’s a basement in the mansion that no one can open.”
Needless to say, Ain’s heart was shaken.